Beckham enjoys boos as he helps beat Union

David Beckham keeps the ball in play. The superstar's presence with the Los Angeles Galaxy helped create quite a buzz at the Union's home in Chester.
David Beckham keeps the ball in play. The superstar's presence with the Los Angeles Galaxy helped create quite a buzz at the Union's home in Chester.
Posted: October 08, 2010

He doesn't move that fluidly and won't win many foot races, especially after a recent left Achilles injury, but David Beckham remains as dangerous as ever on set pieces.

Beckham not only provided a major buzz in his first visit to the Philadelphia area, he set up the lone goal as the Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Union, 1-0, in Thursday's Major League Soccer match at sold-out PPL Park.

Playing in only his fifth game since his March 14 injury, Beckham found Edson Buddle on a corner kick in the 27th minute, and the Galaxy forward delivered with a header from just outside the 6-yard line.

It was Buddle's 16th goal, extending his MLS lead.

"The service had to be there, and all I had to do was redirect it," Buddle said.

Eliminated from postseason consideration last week, the Union fell to 7-14-7 with two games remaining.

Los Angeles boosted its MLS-best point total. The Galaxy (17-6-5) have 56 points.

Beckham, who was replaced in the 76th minute by Jovan Kirovski, was introduced to a Philadelphia tradition by many of the PPL-record 18,779 in attendance - being booed every time he touched the ball. The boos were music to Beckham's ears.

"Without a doubt, it is the way it should be," Beckham said. "That is the atmosphere in Europe when you go to an away game, and I really enjoyed it."

He also enjoyed the previous evening. Beckham attended the Phillies game in two parts. He saw the first few innings, left for a team dinner, and returned for the final few innings to see Roy Halladay finish off his no-hitter.

"To be part of that historical night was really special," Beckham said.

The Union had plenty of first-half chances, including a 35-yard bender by Sebastien Le Toux that went just wide. In the 18th minute, Danny Mwanga was stopped by a sliding keeper Donovan Ricketts.

In the half, Union midfielder Fred suffered a gash above his left eye that team trainer Paul Rushing said required about four stitches to close.

The Union continued to create second-half scoring chances. In the 73d minute, Le Toux flicked a cross from Andrew Jacobson just past the far post.

Moments later, Ricketts made a diving save on a 10-yard shot from an angle on the right side by Shea Salinas.

Union keeper Brad Knighton made a sensational diving save in the 78th minute on a Landon Donovan breakaway.

Other than the result, the Union players enjoyed the atmosphere created by Beckham.

"It's great to see the stadium full when you a play a game and are out of the playoffs," Le Toux said. "Beckham is a great player, and to see it was nice. We played hard, and I think we have nothing to regret."


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com


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